The bright, yellow restaurant with the hulking, black smoker set up out front is hard to miss, even among the dazzling storefronts of Tumon's Pleasure Island.
The alluring aroma of smoked brisket doesn't hurt, either.
"The brisket is our No. 1 seller," said executive chef Richard Schaaf, a Michigan native (it gave him a laugh when asked if he had experience smoking meat) who now considers himself a local.
And that last point is important, as Schaaf and Kailee Smoke and Grill owner Denis Regnier, who have called Guam home for a collective half-century, say the restaurant is by locals, for locals.
"This restaurant is designed to provide great quality to the local people of Guam," Schaaf said. "The owner's No. 1 priority is to provide the food for the locals, affordable food for the locals, with portions for the locals."
"It's from Guam, to Guam, for Guam," Regnier said.
Regnier left school at age 16 to become a busboy and never looked back, he said, except for a brief foray into software design.
Back in the food game, Regnier was struck with the idea for an affordable barbecue joint one night when he was left to fend for himself for dinner. He didn't feel like cooking something, so instead he went out. At the end of the night, he was left with a bill for $80, he said. It seemed like a lot for a meal for one.
Not long after, Regnier set out to open an affordable dinner option, and Kailee Smoke and Grill was born.
A mecca for island meat lovers, Kailee – named for Regnier's granddaughter – offers your typical barbecue fare, along with huge steaks at good prices: try a 38-ounce tomahawk for just $59.95. Regnier said it's the largest cut and cheapest price on the island.
It's a plate that's probably best shared, but that didn't stop one teenage customer from downing the whole thing solo in one sitting, Schaaf said. After the meal, he took home the bone for his dog, Regnier recalled: a true doggy bag.
The rest of the menu, while simple, is surprisingly adventurous. The kids' menu features a "pizza dog," which is the stuff of childhood dreams, topping a red hot Nathan's Famous Hot Dog with gooey mozzarella and spicy pepperoni.
Schaaf also has cooked up several sauces that are totally unique to Kailee, like the four-alarm Firework Mango or the flavorful Strawberry Habanero, which Schaaf said is relatively mild, especially for local palates.
"Some of the inspiration is local food, but we also wanted to provide sauces that you're not gonna see in all the restaurants on Guam," Schaaf said.
Schaaf would know: He's a food-and-beverage veteran who's held "every position in the restaurant business," he said. "I've held every title in the kitchen and the bar."
But, "he doesn't speak French yet," Regnier added.
Creative process 'never stops'
The pair, who actually live one floor apart in the same building, said they're constantly coming up with new ideas, though they declined to share too many, lest the competition get hold of them.
"It never stops," Regnier said of their creative process. "We can be sitting in the office and all of a sudden say, 'Hey what about trying this or that?'"
Then it's up to Schaaf to make it happen.
They've thrown ox tail, salmon, turkey and sausage on the smoker, Schaaf said, which comfortably fits 10 briskets or two full pigs.
"Nothing has failed," Schaaf said. "Everything that we have smoked, we have eaten."
For a heart-stopping dinner, you can try their pork belly burger, which sandwiches lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado mayo between two "buns" made of pork belly.
"I have my first one," Regnier said with a laugh. "Then I told chef, 'OK, next time I order one of these, it will be six months.'"
All of the beef served at Kailee is 100 percent certified Angus beef, Schaaf said, and spends a full day cooking low and slow on the smoker.
After being dressed with a house rub, the meat soaks in a marinade for about half an hour, then smokes for up to six hours. The chef then takes it out and wraps the meat in foil, which keeps all of the juices inside. Then it's back on the smoker for another six hours.
"When we wrap it in foil, it cooks in its own juice and tenderizes itself," Schaaf said. "When it comes out of the smoker, it's fall-apart ... and it's mouthwatering."
Order online for pickup
As of July 1, a couple weeks after the restaurant's mid-June soft opening, Kailee Smoke and Grill now offers online ordering for pickup.
Regnier expects to get a lot of orders through the online system and said that several of their neighboring businesses were armed and ready with takeout menus.
"The best thing happens to those who can wait," according to the Kailee online order page, which can be found at kaileesmokeandgrill.com.
The system seems user-friendly and features the full in-house menu. According to the website, pickup is available from 10:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
"We are open," Regnier said. "And everyone is welcome."